Friday, July 2, 2004

the aluminum tubes

Josh Marshall provides an important example of how the Bush Administration cherry-picked intelligence to fit a-priori ideological stances rather than making a true unbiased case for war:

Remember those aluminum tubes?

Those were the tubes imported by Iraq which were so precisely and finely manufactured that they could only have been intended for use in gas centrifuges to enrich uranium. That was the story at least -- the tubes that launched a thousand ships in the tragicomic Dubyiad.

There were always doubters, of course. And some rather important ones, particularly the experts at the Department of Energy -- the folks in the US government who actually have real experience in enriching uranium and making nuclear weapons, a rather potent credential.

They didn't think the aluminum tubes were for nukes.

Yet that seemingly qualified verdict was overruled by contending voices at the CIA, particularly one analyst who took up the tubes case aggressively.

As David Albright wrote in March 2003, "For over a year and a half, an analyst at the CIA has been pushing the aluminum tube story, despite consistent disagreement by a wide range of experts in the United States and abroad. His opinion, however, obtained traction in the summer of 2002 with senior members of the Bush Administration, including the President."

On the issue of these aluminum tubes, I had found the Administration's initial claims suspect given they were based on non-credible witnesses, but ultimately was convinced by the media reports on the matter that there were some "experts" who agreed that the tubes were dual-use. Later I realized I was wrong. Other liberals actually based their support of the Iraq war on precisely this kind of false evidence. This ultimately will make principled, honest people like Thomas more hesitant to endorse hawkism when/if it is needed in the future, which is good, but may also have a biasing/chilling effect on their assessment of whether military options are needed, which is bad. It's just worth mentioning yet again the level to which the deceptions spread, and the amplified power of that deception when wielded by the Executive Branch.

No comments:

Post a Comment